Laser pointers | St. Louis Public Radio

Laser pointers

(Screen capture via YouTube/ildalasershows/FAA/U.S. Air Force)

The U.S. Attorney's Office announced today that Brian David Monday has been indicted for allegedly pointing a green laser beam into the cockpit of an in-flight airplane and helicopter on Nov. 4, 2011 in St. Charles.

The 30-year-old Monday of St. Charles was indicted by a federal grand jury and is facing one felony count of interfering with an airplane and a helicopter.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000 if convicted. 

Another laser strike on police helicopter in St. Louis area

Aug 5, 2011
(Screen capture via YouTube/ildalasershows/FAA/U.S. Air Force)

Police in St. Louis County are investigating another laser strike on aircraft.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a green laser hit a police helicopter flying over the Webster Groves area Thursday night. Pilots could not find the source of the laser beam, and no arrests have been made.

(Screen capture via YouTube/ildalasershows/FAA/U.S. Air Force)

The FBI is warning that aiming laser pointers at flying aircraft is a serious offense punishable by years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines.

At a press conference Monday, St. Louis officials said that pilots typically report several laser strikes per day.

Doug Reinholz is a helicopter pilot with the St. Louis Police Department.  He says the light from laser pointers can be blinding to pilots, particularly at night.

"It's equivalent to like a flash of a camera if you were in a pitch black car at night," Reinholz said.